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E.C. Illa's "Fat Laces and Throwing Stars"

A piece of history inside Chicago's Hip-Hop scene, when the hustle was legitimate and digital just wasn't an option..



It was hour zero when I was able to get my procrastinating hands on a copy of "Fat Laces and Throwing Stars" by E.C. Illa and so pleased I did. To write a book about self, you have to have a certain amount of vulnerability and a strong backbone when going all in and this compilation of short stories do not fall short.


Bustle: Move Around

You have to really appreciate the grind and have an understanding that sometimes you go places and sometimes things fall through, but you never know if you don't strive for it to begin with. And even if things don't go as planned, through writing it all down, you realize how much you really have accomplished. The push seemed so simple back when you had cassette tapes and records, yet today's youth barely want to send a link to their music in a professional email. It was face-to-face foot work, meetings, long nights in studio sessions, handing out flyers, branding and marketing through posting up (na, not on fb, a literal sticker or flyer to a street post, which got many of us caught up and in trouble for) Relate..


'You Can't' STOP: 'E.C. Illa'

You'd understand the heading if you picked up a copy of "Fat Laces and Throwing Stars" or you just may have seen it locally in Chicago back when. (I purposefully linked the book, so you can click and see it's sold out) :) I'm not giving a lot away as much of what E.C. releases is limited and it's more enjoyable that way (call me selfish...idgaf). I admire how this publication has photos that can take you back in time and recall so many memories. You might have been a part of or remember "Trust None" (Chicago's first official gangsta film). Phew.. As an artist, you can only appreciate all of the dedication that goes from a thought or dream to words to action and to achievement. Relate..

A victory is a fulfillment that some hustlers can describe as an addiction because the moment you soak up all of the glory, your brain goes to....


What's Next: In Motion

Now I can't assume E.C. Illa's "Fat Laces and Throwing Stars" is in a chronological time-lined order but it seemed to go from early years forward. There was a lot of nostalgic items mentioned that were sold in his store, "The Tip" along with music of course. I was like 10 years old when some of these early events took place but it reminded me of these toy mini cassette players "Pocket Rockers" I think they were called..

Much like a song takes you back to a place in time, this book of short stories did the same for me. And as adults, we need to have those joyful moments where we just breathe and remember all of the things that led up to now instead of focusing solely on a future which isn't promised.


I enjoyed this book it's it's entirety and it's the simple full circle things that happen that makes you appreciate certain memories. E.C. talks about when he

went on to his 'secret side hustle', phone interviewing artists for write-ups publishing in some well-known beloved magazines of their time.

These artists were mentioning him to him and didn't even know it. Full circle moments..




The Verdict:


6 out of 5 stars. Made me want to write again. Hence, this blog post.


If E.C. Illa decides at any point even for 10 minutes to record some music again, I got first dibs on a feature!


Looking forward to what's next and thoroughly enjoyed the humor and look back on the way the industry was, still is, has changed and changed some more...





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